Why milky hair is the colour of summer

This cream dream hue is everywhere right now. What do you need to know about immersing yourself in pints of milky hair?

Kim Kardashian and her sKIMmed milk hair hue is all we can talk about. Debuted at the Met Gala after a marathon lightening job by Chris Appleton, this single cream colour is set to be the shade of the summer. Dreaming of this dairy? Then we’ve got the skinny on what you need to do… and even the lactose intolerant can enjoy it!

First up – what IS milky hair? According to the top colour team at Maria Nila, it’s a fresh, silky hue that takes inspiration from platinum blonde but has a more expensive and luxe finish. This look features highlighting and low-lighting techniques instead of one colour all over so it’s not too warm or too cool in tone, but perfect for any skin tone.

“When I look at this milky blonde trend, overall what I see is an expensive bright blonde where the light reflects beautifully to show shiny, healthy hair – which is more on trend than any colour at the moment,” adds Aveda’s Joe Hill.

Right, we’ve gotta lotta bottle to go this milky blonde – and it can be done in one step, according to Blue Tit’s colour director, Declan Haworth. “You absolutely can bleach in one process. This way you don’t repeatedly over process parts of your hair that actually don’t warrant bleaching,” he says. ‘In fact I advise doing it in this way instead of building up with highlights. Unfortunately some colourists that are uncomfortable with scalp or full head bleach process will suggest building up with a highlight technique. This will only over process the hair and cause damage in the long run.”

A word of warning though: if you’re determined to go for this, you need to think of protection. Always get an allergy test first, and if all is good, you need to include a bond building treatment to give the insurance that your hair is going to be protected during the colour process and to give the light reflection and manageability you would expect. “Porous and sensitised hair can ‘grab’ toner in weak areas creating a ‘muddy’ finish,” explains Daniel Couch, head of colour at Russell Eaton Salons. Think of treatments such as Olaplex, INNOluxe and Wellaplex, and some salon colours now have bond building formulas in their ingredients.

Hair: Amelia Evans at HARE & BONE


There’s also a bit of a change of mindset needed for long-term blondes. Having spent years looking to banish the brass and delete any yellow, Daniel admits that for this trend, gold is your best friend. “We have spent far too long eradicating all traces of yellow. For the perfect milky hue, get your colourist to introduce a small amount of gold into your colour mixture to create blonde that has a rich, decadent finish. Combining ash and golden tones will help you get a complex ‘expensive’ result.”

Indeed, with this milky blonde trend, skin tone is super important when choosing the right shade. “Dark/olive skin tones will suit a warm beige blonde and lighter skin with a pink undertone will suit more violet base/icy blondes. Skins with a golden undertone will suit champagne blonde,” explains Jośe Domene from the HARE & BONE Art Team. “There’s a shade that works for everyone.”

You’ll need to accept that there is a commitment to be made to your hair… and your colourist. “The upkeep for this colour is just like any other bleach, you want to make sure you’re coming back every six to eight weeks, depending on hair growth to avoid banding, using the right shampoos and conditioners to make the colour last and doing regular treatment to avoid the hair drying out,” says Cult and Bloom’s Zoheb Jetha.

However, you do have a little bit of wiggle room. “The trend is slightly less upkeep than a platinum blonde, as the root will not look as harsh when it comes in,” argues Dylan Brittain, artistic director at Rainbow Room International, “and a soft, lived-in root is now more on trend than ever, allowing you to have a little more time in between your appointments to keep your blonde from excess damage and looking as healthy as possible.”

If you think a silver shampoo will be your best friend, act cautiously. “I would also avoid using too much ‘silver’ shampoo, this is a common misconception that this will prolong your colour… it won’t,” states Declan. “They can contain a lot of sulphates which will remove all the beautiful toner that your colourist has used!”

Hair: Paul Paterson at Medusa


As this is the shade of the summer, be mindful of what the sun can do – you don’t want your milky hue to curdle. “I would strongly suggest that using a head scarf or hat while sunbathing,” says Declan. “I know that wearing a silk turban is not very fitting for a pool party or day dancing on a terrace in Ibiza, but keeping your hair out of the sun where possible is the best option. And always take a deep hydration mask away to use as frequently as possible!”

And if Kim K isn’t your vibe, you have different ways to make the milk your own. ““I love the look and thinks it’s really edgy and cool, as well as versatile,” says Seniz Alkan, colour director at Neville Hair & Beauty. “From glamour to goth, with the right make up it could suit everybody.”


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